Path of Exile

Non-crit Elementalist HoT Autobomber – a Really Bad Noob guide (with guest star: 5L setup)


TL;DR – PoB's and vids at the bottom-ish, long waffle before showing HoT can do good on cheap budget, better with more budget, and insane with currency sink….but crit does more deeps.

Greetings Exiles!

A few days ago I posted a mathematically dense and somewhat rambling how-to for sustaining self-damage from dual Storm Secrets with Herald of Thunder. In that post I said I would one day outline the basics for how I fixed my scuffed Heist non-crit Elementalist.

If you thought that was the only long winded rambling post you're going to get from me, you're sorely mistaken. I present to you:

Anne's Really Bad guide to a cheap (and not cheap, too!) Non-Crit Elementalist HoT Autobomber, along with 5L setup for the very poor.

This was a fix-up for my witch who made it out of Heist league into 3.13 Standard and started falling over a lot because of the patched interaction with Anomalous Arctic Armour and self-hit from Storm Secret. You can't freeze bosses mid-air jump any more, but you can still down them pretty quick.

NOTE: there is definitely a DPS cap with non-crit, but you can get a bit of mitigation with it (not Sirus Storm/Die Beam but pretty good) if you do it right. If you go crit, you can double/triple the DPS and (more importantly) the DPS is more consistent through mapping due to power charge uptime, but you then need to spend more in the tree/gear for power charges rather than defenses – I suck at that, so here we are.

Just like the last post, I'm writing this simplified with more explanation necessary for those who thought they wanted to try a HoT build of any kind, but didn't think they had the currency to start. If you can already boop A8+ conquerors with one hit on their schnozzle, move along, nothing to see here. This is for my fellow noobs who struggle with red-tier maps (like I did until I learned better).

If you have feedback, please comment and let me know what you'd do different/better – I'm at the point now where I want to fix my own char a bit more and I'm happy for pointers (don't roast too hard, I'm casual noob, ok?). Others will appreciate your input, too, I'm sure!


  • Your prior chars were great and you got a bit of currency to get started and want to try something new, OR
  • Your prior chars were shit but you have some currency to get off the ground including enough to get 20/20 gems where needed.
    • If you need to start from scratch with gems then it's going to have a much lower DPS/defense but you can still reasonably do this.
  • You have run all of the lab trials with another char, so you just need to run the actual labs (or better yet, you have a witch with full ascendancy you can change).
    • Take your bleed flasks, and tell Izaro I said hi.

Concept Summary – nothing special to see here.

Normal HoT Autobomber setup, not much of a twist.

  • Inpulsa, Storm Secret, Storm's Gift/Algor Mortis, and a +2 or better lightning staff for increasing damage.
  • Use Shaper of Storms to scale shock effect, Overshock to scale it some more,
  • Convergence boosts against bosses.
  • Cold Conduction to chill shocked enemies (and vice versa), Hypthermia Support for more damage against those chilled/shocked enemies.
  • Evil Eye will blind enemies for 4 seconds when cursed (massive help with bosses). Wish for Death gives us culling strike against cursed enemies (again massive help).
  • Supercharge makes non-crit lightning damage lucky, and Doryani's Lesson gives us much needed leech.
  • Energy Leech Support because we are always leeching ES
    • ES is never 100% full because of the self-hit from Storm Secret.
    • Make that work to your advantage – do more damage while leeching ES.
  • Mitigate the damage to our ES and Life
    • CwDT Immortal Call,
    • Enduring Composure for Endurance Charge uptime (also feeding I/Call), and
    • Using leech mechanics for life and ES, and increasing total ES leech recovery per second where we can sustain the ES in place – meaning our EHP is actually there for us (and the ES isn't being stripped away immediately.)
  • Add in some Golems (chaos, flame, whatever you want) for defenses and DPS.


  • Leige of Primordial
    • for defenses and a slight DPS boost
    • Golems are cool. Nobody can take my walking fake auras away from me!
  • Shaper of Storms
    • for scaling shock effect
    • you don't need this for the build, but scaling works nice for a boost.
  • Mastermind of Discord/Heart of Destruction
    • Exposure lowering Ele resists is fantastic.
    • Convergence boost is amazing (for four seconds).

You could drop Storms for Elemancer (more golem buffs and ailment avoidance) but I like Storms for shock scaling.

I personally Avoid Bastion of Elements unless doing Atziri/reflect heavy. The shield gets ripped apart quickly, the only benefit is reflect immunity. Some people swear by it, though, and I can see how it will help mitigate when it has time to recharge…but you're better off with golems or storms.

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If you are doing it in order – Liege (defenses and DPS from golems to help you survive longer), Storms or Discord (DPS during mapping), then up to you the third/fourth – I would take Storms before Destruction just for mapping survivability/clear, but it depends on how you are going with maps versus bosses.

PoB background info for this guide:

There will be multiple PoB's listed, each using the same premise but differing slightly so you can see the method/process.

Al PoB's are configured as

  • Single target,
  • no flasks popped (you're not a pathfinder)
  • Sirus
  • shock set manually to 1%
    • PoB will calculate the correct shock, but PoBPreviewBot has a habit of marking it as 50% shock if you don't enter a value. This doesn't affect the DPS calculation, but does affect what reply the bot makes here (if it comes to say hi).

When I say single target, I mean peak boss DPS with leech, exposure, curses, and convergence. Mapping DPS (mobs) is lower but they have a lower Life and Ailment threshold, so this DPS figure is what you expect to get against uniques/bosses. You can check what your mapping DPS is against mobs by unticking Convergence and disabling Conductivity.

I have included for your roasting pleasure:

  • 5L without awakened gems, and really really trashy gear
    • if you can afford awakened gems, then you should start with 6L gear with better stats first.
  • 6L without awakened gems and trashy/ok/good-ish gear.
  • 6L with awakened gems and gear from above
  • 6L with Level 6 awakened gems and some OP Chad gear, and finally
  • My own PoB which sits somewhere in the middle.
    • I need to spend more time crafting/recrafting gear with useless mods (I don't care about IIR on my boots…does anyone?)

Info about the Gear:

  • In the PoB's provided I've "crafted" some gear to show what's possible
    • all mocked up examples in PoB that are just examples/placeholders.
  • Most of the gear I've listed is absolute trash gear unless specified.
    • no/little life, no/low ES, low tier resists, low/no extra damage, etc.
    • For example: The jewels just have flat life and lightning damage, no resists, nothing else helpful. They are relatively cheap to get with SOME resists, or attributes, or you can exchange light damage for ES instead.
  • The build is lacking in Chaos and other res naturally, so you have to get it from gear or jewels. I've not done this except for higher-end gear in later PoBs. Find some chaos res!
  • In the 6L or better PoBs I've also included some reasonable-to-obtain/craft gear
    • This shows what increases can be done once you start crafting (including Awakener orbs if you are lucky or can buy the right ones)
    • I didn't touch the normal jewels from the tree for these.

Summary of Gear listed in these PoBs:

  • "Trash"
    • low/mid tier resists, no chaos res at all.
    • no life unless bench crafted,
    • absolute trash hence the name.
    • This is stuff you won't really find on trade because no-one can be bothered selling it, it's that worthless – so you're already going to be better off than the gear listed picking stuff up from the ground or using essences.
  • "Ok"
    • reasonable to obtain with moderate resists, life, etc – still no chaos res.
    • a couple of influenced (dual influenced amulet) items,
    • +3 staff, helm enchant.
    • Not overpriced, not cheap, can be crafted or purchased if you have the currency and/or some luck.
  • "Pretty Good"
    • Enchants on boots/helm,
    • +5 Staff (I just realised with T1 Increased Lightning Damage Prefix no less…ok so maybe OP but you get the point),
    • dual influenced belt and amulet with good stats,
    • chaos and high tier res.
    • Not top tier OP Chad, but fairly pricey and pretty good.
  • "OP Chad"
    • Decent enchants on Helm and Boots,
    • +5 staff with dual double damage crafts (on focus and normal),
    • much better stats on gear, mostly T1 (no elevated mods though)
    • Can be better, but already stupid OP at the moment.

Tree progression:

  • Shows basic tree progression from L85/90/95. You can scroll through the trees to see the changes, or open it up and hover over each tree listing to see the summary.
    • My current char only shows the current snapshot, sorry.
    • Trees are not fully min/maxed
      • once again you can do better than a simple noob like me.
  • There are two types of tree progression shown – one with a single set of clusters, the other with two larges.
    • This is due to difficulty/pricing in obtaining a certain combination of notables which I'll explain more detail below.
  • At L95 there are a few options that have better life at the expense of a little DPS / ES, or one with an extra endurance charge and decent other stats.
    • it means less one-shots (Corrupted Soul leaves you vulnerable to Very Big Hits) but you lose in other ways.
  • Again, you can do better than I, I am a NOOB – optimise away! Let me know what you actually come out with!


  • You need a couple of rare jewels with minimum Life (or ES) and Lightning Damage, plus what resists or other beneficial stats you can manage/need. I did not add resists to the jewels I crafted in the tree.
  • Glorious Vanity Doryani for Corrupted Soul
    • You can go Ahuna for Immortal Ambition if you like (I don't like it).
    • This is the only "pricey" one but this league cheaper than others.
    • Don't forget to check what your notables change to when you slot it in your char!
      • I've got two Automation Studies notables in mine, adding 14% Phys Damage reduction for 6 points if I took them.
  • Large Cluster(s):
    • Supercharge for extra lightning damage from non-crit.
    • Doryani's Lesson for Life Leech.
      • If you have another source of Elemental/Lightning Damage leech then you don't need this
      • eg, starting with Doryani's Invitation belt, but you want to change it later when you get a better belt.
      • If you can get Doryani and Supercharge on one large then do it, it will allow you to push further into the tree or use the second cluster setup for better mods.
      • This can be pricey to buy which is why the two cluster configurations. You can craft this if you are lucky with finding harvests (more in the comments) or buy with 4-5ex or more.
    • If required: Prismatic Heart gives some extra damage and also provides resists.
      • If you can do resists without it, use a better mod like Scintillating Idea, Tempt the Storm, Overshock, or Storm Drinker.
      • This is an optional node but more dps is more dps, get as many useful notables on your clusters.
  • Medium clusters:
    • Evil Eye – blind cursed enemies for 4 seconds.
    • Wish for Death – Culling Strike against cursed enemies.
    • Cold Conduction – Chill shocked enemies, and shock chilled enemies (this was a workaround for the Arctic Armour patch, and works quite well with Hypothermia)
    • Overshock with Cold Conduction if you can get it – scale shock effect. Otherwise something that goes with it that works in your favour.
  • Small clusters:
    • Enduring Composure for near-permanent Endurance Charge / Immortal Call uptime.
    • Calamitous Visions.
    • If you are able to with your available points, you can try for other additional small clusters that add life/ES/max resists/chaos resist/armour or phys reduction, etc.
    • if you click the notable name it tells you what size jewel (other than megalomaniac) it can roll on.
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Skill Gems:

  • Gloves:
    • CwDT / Wave of Conviction / Immortal Call (for sweet damage reduction) / Increased Duration.
      • Immortal Call will be fed frequently by the ever-present endurance charges from Enduring Composure. Once it eats those charges, you regain one per second while in combat.
      • Wave of Conviction for massive Lightning exposure DPS boost.
      • I put this setup in the gloves because you can have two copies easily for swap between Storm's Gift and Algor Mortis for bosses. Trust me, it's awesome.
  • 4-link (helm/boots):
    • Flame Golem (Anom if you can get it) / Chaos Golem (Anom if you can get it) / Enhance (higher the better) / Phase Run.
      • Phase run and anom golems benefit from the qual boost from Enhance.
      • If you have regular golems maybe put Empower instead.
  • Other 4L:
    • Flame Dash / Cold Snap / Enduring Cry / Second Wind (Anom if you can get it)
      • Anomalous Second Wind adds another use to the three above
      • I get 5 Flame Dash, 3 Enduring Cry, 3 cold snap as base uses.
      • The descreased cooldown speed is not an issue with enough charges available, I have had up to 7-8 concurrent flame dashes traveling across the map.
      • Enduring Cry is our life regen oh-shit button in addition to flask.
  • 5/6L (weapon or armour, I prefer HoT in Armour)
    • Storm Brand / Hextouch / Conductivity / Increased Crit Strikes / Swiftbrand or Power Charge on Crit on 5L / The other missing one on 6L
      • Increased Crit Strikes (and Power Charge on Crit) will help you trigger Elemental Overload easier for the extra elemental damage boost.
      • You could also go Culling Strike or Blind Support if you like, and drop a 4 cluster from the tree.
      • Storm Brand will sit there and hammer at bosses for a teeny-tiny amount of damage, applying the curse and reapplying if it expires. This lets you run around within the AoE of HoT and hopefully not get hit.
  • Main Skill
    • Herald of Thunder / Hypothermia / Energy Leech Support / Elemental Focus / Added Lightning Damage / Lightning Pen if on 6L
      • Cold Conduction means enemies are chilled when shocked, so boost of DPS with Hypothermia
      • ES leech and more damage while leeching ES with Energy Leech Support.
      • HoT can't shock anyway, and we are not doing ignite, so Elemental Focus provides a huge boost.

Geez you go on a bit! Show me the PoB's already!

Again please remember this is trash gear, and DPS numbers are peak/boss DPS with Convergence and curses not mapping DPS. All PoBs are listed starting at L85 (and if the bot replies, this is what you'll see), so go in and change as needed for progression/gear.

  • 5L setup with non-awakened gems and trash gear:
    • POB:
    • for those of you too cash poor for 6L inpulsa and/or 6L Agnerod/lightning staff.
    • but enough currency for the required 20/20 gems (or at least willing to level/qual them up).
    • Cost of entry: under 2-3 ex (looking at but I could be wrong) because 5L and pricing on rings/other gear/jewels. Can be under 1-2 ex if you play it right.
    • If you struggle with life/ES sustain, swap out one storm secret ring for something with life/resists and if you can conductivity on hit.
      • PoB will show this as a DPS decrease against bosses however it will smooth out mapping.
    • NOTE:
      • A +6 Crest of Desire with HoT slotted in it's single socket will output as much DPS as this 5L configuration. They can go to +8, and are about 35-50c depending on other stats, but you lose on Inward Eye Armour/Life/ES boosts. If you have OK other gear and want the deeps, throw that on until you can get a 6L.
      • Replica Alpha's Howl 4L does more DPS than the 5L, less than a +7 Desire, but needs a LOT more dex.
      • These two helms are not included in the PoBs.
    • Level 85 Stat Hightlights (remembering this is 5L with absolute trash gear, and you'll scale up with levels/tree)
      • 1.8m sDPS, 3K life / 2.2K ES, 600 Life Leech, 343 ES leech, 75/75/81/-40 resists (trashy gear no chaos res on anything), 40% phys reduction (with endurance charges and chaos golems)
      • This improves with levels (but not heaps, it's a 5L setup remember?)
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ALSO NOTE: At 81% lightning res, 7.2 hits per second (bad rolled rings), and Glorious Vanity, ES will need 342 leech per second to sustain and not shred apart. Less leech is required with Immortal Call active.

  • 6L setup with non-awakened (regular) gems:
    • POB:
    • Cost of entry: 3-4 ex Inpulsa, 2-4 ex Agnerod, more for other gear.
      • Crest of Desire +8 does less DPS than this 6L, drop it now if you took it for the trash setup.
    • L85 Stat highlights (still with trash gear but 6L)
      • 2.4m + sDPS, 3.1k life / 2.3k ES, 600 Life Leech, 343 ES leech, 75/75/81/-40 res (still trashy gear, remember?), 40% phys reduction,
    • L95 with "OK" gear in the item config:
      • 4m sDPS, 4.1k life / 2.8 k ES, 827 LL, 420 ES Leech, 75/75/76/-40 resistances (again not great gear only "OK"), 41% phys reduction.

NOTE: That without Agnerod South the leech requirement to sustain ES is higher, which this can sustain (and more.)

  • 6L setup with Awakened Gems
    • POB:
    • Has reasonable to obtain gear, good enchants, 21/23 HoT gem, Anom Golems, etc – but a bit powered up and not the cheapest:
    • Cost of entry: Lots. +3 Staff can be self-crafted with spamming fossils and using bench craft though, so not crazy expensive.
    • L85 Stats with the "Pretty Good" gear set:
      • 5.5m sDPS, 3.5k life / 2.9k ES, 716 LL, 527 ES leech, 75/75/76/30 res (yay chaos res), 42% phys reduction.
    • L95 with same gear:
      • 6m sDPS, 4.5k life / 2.9k ES, 912 LL, 520 ES Leech, 75/75/76/30 res, 42% phys reduction.

  • OP stupidly expensive 6L setup with L6 Awakened Gems,
    • POB:
    • OP and expensive gear (double corrupted inpulsa/+5 dual double damage staff, Anom Golems, etc),
    • This is my theory-based DPS cap currency sink for non-crit, if you can do better with non-crit let me know.
      • I do see a couple of guys on Ninja with this or more when you re-do the PoB properly, but don't have the life pool, damage reduction, etc.
    • Cost: No idea. 50 ex? 100? Someone lend me a mirror, I'll give you change.
    • Stats: L85 with "OP Chad Gear":
      • 14.4m sDPS, 3.5k Life / 3.1K ES, 716LL, 474 ES leech, 75/75/76/65 res, 35% phys reduction
      • (removed Inward Eye, if you keep it on it's 45% phys reduction but less DPS and slightly less life/ES).
    • Stats L95 with Chad Gear:
      • 15.9 sDPS, 4.6k life / 3.1k ES, 926 LL, 465 ES leech, 75/75/76/65 resists, 35% Phys Reduction.

  • And finally my current build as of today:
    • POB:
    • My current setup has a mix of good and crappy gear, Awakened gems, and some crap stuff I need to fix up a fair bit with new awakening crafts or purchases.
    • Don't laugh and roast too hard, a number of the useless mods were Awakener fails which I can't remove via Harvest and haven't had the time or patience to recraft.
    • I'll let PoBPreviewBot show you that, if he comes to this post I mean.
    • I've also finally (today) picked up a cluster with Doryani and Supercharge on one, so time to re-spec for more life and/or damage.

Sample vids A8 Conquerors:

If you made it this far,

Well then thanks! You were either skimming the post, or were that bored. Sorry for the wall of text, let me know what you guys think about my guide, feedback as always welcome (don't roast too hard, constructive feedback please!)


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